The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions
2010 PROGRESS REPORT
02 Letter from the Executive Director
04 Who We Are
05 What We Do
OUR PROGRAM AREAS
12 Process and Policy
18 Our Voice
20 Get Involved
DEAR FRIENDS of FasterCures,
2010 was a turning point for the medical research community.
We marked the 10th anniversary of the decoding of the
human genome and yet, its potential remains largely
untapped. We saw much attention focused on access to
healthcare and its costs, and yet for too many one question
remained unanswered — where are my treatments and cures?
With fiscal budgets still strained, we continued to look
even more closely at the return on our investment — and
the 21 new therapies that reached the market in 2010 just
did not seem enough return for our investment in
Challenges not withstanding, we saw unprecedented,
and at times renewed, commitment from all stakeholders
to transform, modernize, and improve the medical
In 2010, FasterCures implemented programs and created
• CONVENED NONTRADITIONAL ALLIES to explore vitally needed
• CONNECTED BEST PRACTICES TO POLICIES AND PROCESSES to spur
broad adoption of forward-thinking approaches.
• CATALYZED AN OUTCOMES-DRIVEN ENTERPRISE by speaking
truth to power and challenging the system to deliver the
best possible outcomes for every patient.
We strive for a future where each medical research sector
is operating at peak performance. It is our vision to create
a research culture driven by collaboration and designed to
meet and anticipate the needs of patients.
I am pleased to share the highlights of our year and I ask
you to join us in our mission to find cures — faster. Your
support makes it possible for us to be that strong and
independent voice, and to engage the right people and
organizations around the right solutions at the right time.
Executive Director, FasterCures
WHO WE ARE
FasterCures is not just our name — it’s our mission.
We are an “action tank” that works to improve the
medical research system — so that we can speed up
the time it takes to get important new medicines
from discovery to patients.
Despite the human and financial capital flowing through our healthcare
system, the fact remains that more than 100 million Americans suffer from
cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease,
and others for which there are still no cures — and, in many cases, few
meaningful treatment options.
We’ll all be patients at some point. We have to act now and act smartly —
because patients are dying every day waiting for treatments and cures.
Our mission is to accelerate the progress of discovery and development of
new medical solutions for deadly and debilitating diseases. We are nimble
and independent, a “safe place” for key stakeholders of the medical research
enterprise to come together and get things done.
FasterCures, the Milken Institute’s Center for Accelerating Medical
Solutions, is nonpartisan and not affiliated with interest groups.
Be it lack of medical breakthroughs, limited resources, or
restrictive policies that are stalling progress, patients are
paying the price in life or death consequences.
Is this acceptable?
At FasterCures, we work to clear the path to faster progress by educating stakeholders
about the barriers, and by overcoming them through action.
We start and end everything we do with the patient in mind. For the medical research
system to work, it has to be patient-focused, and patient-driven. So we work alongside
patient advocates, researchers, investors, policymakers, and other leaders in medical
research and development to:
• STIMULATE innovative COLLABORATIONS across all sectors — academia, government,
industry, investors, and nonprofits.
• INCREASE PATIENT ENGAGEMENT in research and optimize use of patient data.
• IMPROVE research PROCESS & POLICY to support efficient development and approval
of new therapies.
• FACILITATE greater access and more strategic allocation of CAPITAL to support
results-driven medical research.
We have a number of high-impact programs that are laser-focused on improving the
medical research system because we firmly believe that each life saved by preventing
disease and developing new cures is priceless.
Getting new medicines to patients takes too long and costs
too much — medical research in our country has stalled.
And that has to change — that’s where FasterCures comes in.
Expediting cures requires collaboration — across sectors,
disciplines, and areas of expertise.
“FasterCures has a unique ability to bring together people from all
the various sectors of medical research, gather disparate interests,
and develop common solutions to address similar challenges.”
DAVID BALTIMORE, PH.D.
Nobel Laureate and FasterCures Board Member
THE RESEARCH ACCELERATION AND INNOVATION NETWORK (TRAIN)
Recognizing that a collective approach is needed to successfully address the barriers
to innovation, FasterCures created TRAIN and brought together dozens of disease
research organizations with collaborative and results–oriented research methods. In
many cases, these groups, also known as venture philanthropies, were created by patients
and their families, and are motivated solely by the true bottom line: finding a cure.
We amplify TRAIN’s best practices and tell the story of these “entrepreneurs for cures”
in an effort to bring their sense of urgency to the rest of the medical research community.
Everyone can benefit from the lessons they’ve learned.
ENTREPRENEURS FOR CURES ARE
MOTIVATED SOLELY BY THE TRUE
BOTTOM LINE: FINDING A CURE.
IN 2010, FASTERCURES …
• Expedited disease research with the launch of TRAIN Central Station. This first-of-
its-kind public portal allows real-time sharing of valuable information and tools
for and from venture philanthropies. It saves time by preventing duplication of efforts,
and applying processes already proven to be effective. Other nonprofits, industry,
academia, policymakers, and media have turned to this resource for the latest patient-
driven trends, tools, and techniques.
• Informed policymakers about the venture philanthropy model at a briefing on Capitol Hill
in partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Policymakers and influencers learned
about how this model — that features industry partnerships and a robust patient
registry — has fast-tracked the development of therapies that otherwise would not have
been pursued by industry. The standing room-only event featured National Institutes
of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D.
• Educated stakeholders about hot-button issues through solutions-focused Webinars.
The TRAIN Webinar series offered a highly-efficient way to stimulate discussion about
issues and efforts key to moving solutions forward. For instance, one Webinar focused
on a program about “cures in the cupboard,” addressing an often cited need to find
new purposes for industry’s discontinued compounds.
FasterCures will continue to identify and promote models of innovation and collaboration
in medical research because by focusing on critical elements of success, we are able to
pursue a better informed, more sustainable path to developing new cures for disease.
T RAI N
APPROACHES TO DISEASE RESEARCH.
PARTNERING FOR CURES IS
WHERE COLLABORATION HAPPENS AND
IDEAS ARE SHARED OPENLY
PARTNERING FOR CURES
Getting to faster cures requires academia, government, industry, investors, and nonprofits
to work together. Until FasterCures created the Partnering for Cures meeting in 2009,
it was nearly impossible for many major players in research to easily find each other and
collaborate in a meaningful way. This unique event is set apart by the diversity of its
participants, the scope and quality of the dialogue, and the networking opportunities
structured to make collaboration happen.
IN 2010, FASTERCURES…
• Spurred collaboration across sectors for the second year in a row as hundreds of
leaders actively engaged in the dynamic dialogue and partnership opportunities.
Our measures for its ultimate success are the numbers of lives saved because new
medical solutions were developed. Some outcomes include:
• An investment partnership between a nonprofit and a biotech company that allowed
for early stage research on a rare cancer drug candidate to move forward.
• A transformative partnership between two nonprofits to pool and analyze large
clinical and molecular datasets to better understand disease.
• A joint program between a pharmaceutical company and nonprofit research
foundation to support novel research in mental health that resulted in joint grants
for young investigators.
Through Partnering for Cures, FasterCures will continue to bring non-traditional
allies together to collaborate and create new business approaches vital to turning
breakthroughs into solutions that can save and improve lives.
Partnering for Cures features an esteemed speaker roster;
peer-reviewed presentations on real-world collaborations; a highly
sought–after customized partnering system to arrange one-on-one
meetings; and other strategic networking opportunities.
BY THE NUMBERS THE BOTTOM LINE
> 800 PARTICIPANTS ACCELERATING MEDICAL PROGRESS
> 700 ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS SECTORS BY FACILITATING TANGIBLE, STRATEGIC
> 83 SPEAKERS COLLABORATIONS ACROSS SECTORS.
> 16 PANEL AND PLENARY SESSIONS
> 31 INNOVATOR PRESENTATIONS
> 25 EXPERTS PROVIDING FREE CONSULTATIONS
> 600 PARTNERING MEETINGS
“By getting organizations and companies that are used to
competing to instead work together, FasterCures hopes to
break down walls that may slow the achievement of medical
discoveries that could save lives."
CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY
MAKING PATIENT INFORMATION
AVAILABLE TO RESEARCHERS IN A
For the medical research system to work, it has to be
patient-focused and patient-driven.
PATIENTS HELPING DOCTORS (PHD)
The Patients Helping Doctors program anchors everything we do at FasterCures.
We cannot conquer disease without engaging patients. We focus our efforts on
unlocking patient information — medical records, biological material such as
tissue, blood, and DNA, and our biology as observed in clinical trials — and
making these available to clinical researchers in a meaningful way.
“FasterCures is key for the two things that I hold as
important in advancing progress – patient advocacy
and patient participation in research.”
ANTHONY FAUCI, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
IN 2010, FASTERCURES …
• Worked to ensure research was part of health information technology (health IT).
When health IT emerged as a national priority more than five years ago, FasterCures
was the first to call for combining clinical data with research goals, with the release
of our 2005 report, Think Research. Now, as the healthcare system joins the digital
age, we continue to be a leading force to ensure health IT can be used to both
improve care delivery and advance clinical research.
We refreshed our Think Research analysis with what has — and has not — evolved
in the national health IT framework. We identified steps necessary to quickly allow
those involved in the cure enterprise to join those in the care delivery system in the
health IT superhighway. This will lead to earlier and better diagnosis and more
effective prevention strategies and cures.
FasterCures will continue to build a culture of participation in research where patients
and healthy volunteers understand the fundamental value they bring to clinical research.
In fighting disease, patience is not a virtue — patients are. Until we put the patient at the
center of medical research, progress will continue to stall.
From Congressional briefings to panels at the Milken
Institute Global Conference, FasterCures continued
to deliver a strong and consistent message: ensure
research priorities align with patients’ needs.
A 21st Century bullet train on 19th Century steam engine
tracks can only go so fast. But that’s the system we have
in place for medical research.
Some of the most forward-thinking medical innovations
are being held back by antiquated bureaucratic and
SCIENCE AND PROGRESS AT THE FDA
FasterCures has made it a policy priority to advocate for a well-funded FDA —
an agency that regulates 25 percent of every consumer dollar, and is a critical
component to bringing safe and effective medical solutions to patients. We also
work to ensure that regulatory policies and scientific expertise are in place to
keep pace with advances in medicine and research technology.
IT’S NOT THE TRAIN, IT’S THE TRACKS.
IN 2010, FASTERCURES …
• Advocated for greater support for the FDA, working alongside partners at the Alliance
for a Stronger FDA, to ensure support for greater resources at the agency so that it
can have the capacity and financial resources necessary to meet 21st Century demands.
Efforts included engaging in meaningful discussions with key legislative staff, editorial
boards, the White House Domestic Policy Council, Office of Management and Budget,
and other decision-makers and influencers.
We saw results. For FY 2010, the FDA received a 15 percent increase, bringing its total
budget to $2.3 billion. These additional resources will allow FDA to bolster its expertise
to better meet the demands that scientific discoveries will create.
• Educated policymakers and other stakeholders about the latest regulatory developments.
We did this by featuring FDA leadership in front of a wide range of audiences at
Partnering for Cures and on Capitol Hill.
• FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., and Center for Drug Evaluation
and Research Director Janet Woodcock, M.D., chose Partnering for Cures as the
venue to present the agency’s draft guidance for pursuing combination therapies.
This move provides a roadmap for scientists working on unapproved therapies
that need to work in tandem to be most effective.
• We also partnered with
Friends of Cancer Research
to inform key members of
Congress about FDA’s
efforts to boost its regulatory
science capacity. The
agency needs the expertise
to review exciting medical
innovations and make them
available to patients who
need them most.
FDA will continue to be a
FasterCures strategic priority as we develop programs We focus our efforts on ensuring federal
policies and processes exist to pave the
designed to improve our regulatory process. An effective path between a breakthrough idea and a
regulatory system is vital to bringing innovation from medical solution.
the research community to patients.
DEMONSTRATED THE CRITICAL VALUE
OF TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH IN
THE SEARCH FOR CURES
Our national investment in basic science has produced discoveries that now need
translation. The fact is that many basic discoveries barely get to start the journey
down the therapeutic development pipeline. They get stuck in an ever-widening gap
in funding and support for translational research — research that moves basic science
down the path toward treatments. That gap is the proverbial "Valley of Death.”
IN 2010, FASTERCURES…
• Defined translational research challenges and focused on solutions through our
influential white paper. FasterCures published Crossing Over the Valley of Death, the
first comprehensive report that catalogued the challenges in translational research,
articulated real-world case studies that demonstrated the critical value of this phase
in the therapeutic development process, and pointed the way toward solutions.
• Engaged innovators in bridging the Valley. At the FasterCures-Esquire Annual
Leadership Forum, a group of thought leaders and innovators from large
pharmaceutical companies, small biotechnology companies, venture capital funds,
universities, and nonprofit foundations discussed some novel and collaborative
approaches to commercialization, and developed a robust menu of vital action
items to bridging the void between basic and
• Advanced policies that foster translation at the
National Institutes of Health. We are seeing NIH
begin to refocus its commitment to translational
research in response to Americans asking for better
return on their tax dollars in the form of improved
Crossing Over the Valley of Death
health and cures for disease.
FasterCures made progress on a number of fronts:
• NIH Clinical Center opens its doors to external researchers. FasterCures has
been a vocal advocate for maximizing the potential of our nation’s research
crown jewel, the NIH Clinical Center which was underutilized and open only
to NIH scientists. When the board that advises the NIH director considered
opening the Center to external scientists, FasterCures galvanized 86 other
patient advocacy groups within 48 hours, and led an effort to show support
for expanding access to this facility. Six months later, the Clinical Center
opened its doors to external investigators. This move is a major boost for
research teams nationwide who otherwise would not have had access to these
Fully utilizing the NIH Clinical Center was one of the recommendations that
FasterCures had put forward in 2008 through its blue-ribbon task force focused
on the NIH Intramural Research Program led by Nobel Laureate and FasterCures
board member Dr. David Baltimore. In fact, of the five recommendations the task
force presented, three have been acted on, with outcomes that will save lives by
shortening the time it takes to turn breakthroughs into medical solutions.
• Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) garners support of patient groups. FasterCures
educated research stakeholders about this important provision in the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act (health reform law) through a forum in
partnership with Parkinson’s Action Network. CAN was designed to provide
NIH with new funding mechanisms that would accelerate the development of
high-need cures. Throughout the year, FasterCures played an important role
in educating and rallying the patient advocacy community to advocate for
support for CAN.
FasterCures will continue to play a unique role by brokering input from patient-driven
disease research organizations — and possibly other stakeholders — into the process
of defining and implementing major translational research efforts across all sectors.
INVESTMENTS ARE NEEDED TO
ADVANCE MEDICAL INNOVATION.
By investing in our own health, we can solidify our
position as Jupiter, the largest planet.
MEDICAL PHILANTHROPY PORTFOLIO
Philanthropists have a unique, powerful role in funding high-risk, high-
reward research that is often ignored by the government, venture capitalists,
and industry. Our medical philanthropy program helps to facilitate targeted
giving that can move a field of research forward.
“Improved public health translates directly into greater
national productivity, which underpins all economic
growth. So let's get our priorities straight. America's
economy used to be the sun—the gravitational center—
in the "solar system" of leading nations. In the future,
we'll no longer be the sun. But by investing in our own
health, we can help solidify our position as Jupiter,
the largest planet.”
MICHAEL MILKEN, Wall Street Journal Op-Ed
IN 2010, FASTERCURES…
• Created an objective way to evaluate philanthropic impact. FasterCures’ experience
and investment in the Philanthropy Advisory Service pilot project yielded in-depth
insights into nonprofit organizations seeking philanthropic support. We took this
knowledge and created an evaluation tool to help identify effective organizations.
This presented us with a way to objectively help philanthropists looking to make an
impact, and organizations trying to improve their effectiveness.
• Built a toolkit for high-impact medical philanthropy. We developed a series of tools
to help philanthropists make better decisions. Already, wealth managers and
philanthropic advisors are using these resources to advise a broad range
• Getting Started: The Medical Research and
Development (R&D)Primer simplifies the complex
R&D paradigm and identifies key research
players. This Primer outlines the steps needed Building a High-Impact Medical Philanthropy Portfolio
to translate advance scientific breakthroughs
into viable therapies.
• Giving Smarter: Building a High Impact Medical
Philanthropy Portfolio provides donors with a
framework for evaluating nonprofits to ensure
their philanthropy is yielding returns that could The Medical Research and Development Primer
improve and save lives. Cures
FasterCures will continue to ensure private capital is wisely directed to advance medical
progress. We will work with philanthropic partners to better allocate charitable research
funds to where they are most needed. And we will work with experts to direct funding to
the early-stage, high-risk research needed to further medical innovation.
FasterCures is pushing to create a new mindset in our
medical research infrastructure so that diverse and
important stakeholders can share their visionary
thinking openly, work together, and be driven by what
CREATE A NEW MINDSET
IN 2010, FASTERCURES…
• Drew attention to challenges and spotlighted progress in medical research.
We turned to our social media vehicles — FasterCures blog, Facebook, and
Twitter — to engage and inform a diverse range of audiences, in real-time,
about important developments that stand in the way of medical progress or
propel it forward. Here are notable excerpts from the FasterCures blog:
“ “Opportunities to change the trajectory of medical research across sectors and for
all diseases do not come often.” A CRITICAL NEED FOR CURES ACCELERATION, JULY 6, 2010
“We need policy that allows the research to proceed, with federal dollars and with
appropriate oversight.” WHY IT'S TIME FOR CONGRESS TO WRITE NEW STEM CELL LEGISLATION,
AUGUST 30, 2010
“In search of a-ha moments, what I found were some reminders of just how important
it is to get the basics right.” RESEARCH'S ALL ABUZZ ABOUT COLLABORATION AND
COMMUNICATION, MARCH 15, 2010
“While experiences differ, many of the funding challenges are strikingly similar,
and there is a need for more intermediaries to help bridge gaps and address market
constraints.” ACCESSING "SMART MONEY" FOR MEDICAL INNOVATIONS, APRIL 26, 2010
• Ensured that patient outcomes were accounted for in policy creation. We took
every opportunity — through testimonies and commentary — to make sure
federal policies that could impact patients’ lives actually took patients into
consideration from the get-go. These included:
• Commented on proposed changes to the NIH’s conflict-of-interest rules,
noting that rules need to also consider “confluences of interest”
• Called for new data exchange standards that support clinical research to
be included in the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Proposed Rule
• Shared recommendations from the FasterCures Intramural Research Program
Task Force with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
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FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent of interest groups.